In my stay in Bangalore, I’ve seen Watinaro Longkumer grow. She is one of those who shifts the atmosphere when they start worshipping. I first met her on her first night at NCF’s All Night Prayer, she was all shy and quiet and smiling away. And then she sang a song, and she just took our breaths away!!! And then she became the Worship Leader of NCF Bangalore, and there she was a Worship Giant!!! Her heart is of gold, one pure and fearless worshipper! I’ve learnt so much about worshipping from her, I’ve also seen how much she humbled herself before the Lord and how much more God used her and she kept humbling herself more and her worship just kept getting “greater” louder, stronger, and she kept humbling herself more and more… She always, always has so much wisdom in even a small conversation, I’ve known her more as a sister than a friend. More as a worshipper than a worship leader, and more as a lover of God than a teacher. Besides all that she does for God, she got to be one of the few of the few Nagas to teach at Christ University, Bangalore! This is her story!
When “Be Still” and Grace Meet
Little did I know that following Jesus would also mean carrying the CROSS. Without cross there’s no Grace. Period!Who said that life would be smooth sailing and problem free the moment we make a covenant with our Lord. It is like entering a wedlock right? You meet your partner and marry that someone in an elaborated wedding ceremony and once your honeymoon is over, your real marriage starts. Similarly, you make a covenant to enter into a relationship with God, that’s when your real struggle and testing also begins…
Here’s my story…
On a summer night of 2005, I responded to God’s call during a Camp. It was not on an altar call, neither was the speaker charismatic, there was no background music to move my emotions either. In fact I was dozing off during the session. The speaker was preaching on a very boring subject “The Lord’s Prayer.” But my Master had a certain plan. We were asked to read and reflect on the “Lord’s prayer” passage Mathew 6:9-13. As I started to read the prayer, THE WORD started speaking to me. I stopped at verse 12 “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” I couldn’t move from that line for a long time. I realized that, I cannot ask for forgiveness without an act of forgiveness from my end. (I needed to obey so that I can move).
I had a childhood best friend with whom I had a petty fight over trivial issue and we couldn’t talk or stand each other for almost nine years. That night I took a decision to forgive my friend. (Halleluiah! we’re very good friends today) Then Jesus put a song into my heart, “Take my life and let it be.” Since then my real journey started- a bumpy ride in fact, very similar to Kohima-Wokha road.
Things seemed to have started on a good note, but later I saw that everything I tried, started to fail me. I was depressed and frustrated. Even then I was part of Evangelical students union of India and was regularly attending Bible studies and camps. Inspite of all my regular spiritual activities, on a fateful night of October 30th I was taken over by negative thoughts and emotions and Satan tried to take away my life by putting suicidal ideation and I obeyed him, (But I failed, Thank God). Took on a long guilt trip and came back to normalcy with lots of therapy and good support system. Grace had found me yet again. He was not over with me.
Later I joined NCF Bangalore worship team and started to lead worship in our church. Every Sunday I had to lead worship with the best smile ever, though deep down inside I was bogged with burden and sorrow. I was constantly on a spiritual warfare. Again… who thought that being worship leader is immune to all tests and temptations? Only because His mercies are new everyday I could sustain. I have been through all kinds of hardships- anger and frustration had always been my enemy I was fighting with every single day. There were moments when I questioned God why? Why me Lord? Why are you forsaking me?
I had few episodes of misfortunes that were following me for quite some time… Join with me on the screening at Cannes lol… All these incidents happened within two years span…
Some miscreants had skimmed an amount of 30K from my account (that was all I had); few weeks later somebody flicked my favourite LV purse (a gift) with all my cards, IDs, DL,PAN from a bus and I had to walk 8 Kms back home; Lost two mobile phones within a span of eight months; Tripped in my saree and rolled 10 steps down as I was hurrying between classes (picked up by Fathers, (facepalm)) I had to take two weeks rest and limped for two months to college in Saree; Felt a lump on my left breast, pressed my panic button and called up all my loved ones, said many a farewell words till I was told by Docs that its benign; last year planned on a solo trip to Europe and on the day of my travel, found out that my agent had given me a bogus ticket without PNR no. had to come out of the counter 30 mins before boarding, bought another ticket and flew the next night; Boarded on a wrong metro at Paris, travelled all the way back to the starting point and went to my hotel, wasted one day for sightseeing; Lost my best friend in October 2015 and still grieving…
I continued to lead worship in church singing “I will sing even in my darkest hours” while I was going through all these. Though I sing “when everything falls apart, Praise His name” It was very difficult to do that. The pain was real. I’ve often felt why would God let me go through all these circumstances, and He seems so far away when I’m still serving Him. Yet, I’m always comforted by his compassionate heart reaching out to me reminding me of His grace every time I talk to Him. He takes me to Gethsemane and show me how Jesus had to plead to the Father the night before He was crucified, and yet with all the pain that was going through inside of Him, He always ended His prayer with “May Your will be done” A sign of obedience.
Often times, we bring a list of prayers and concerns to God and expect Him to straighten them so that we walk comfortably. But we fail to do our part ie, Obeying God. The moment we obey and accept God’s will, that’s when Grace becomes much prominent.
We cannot be anywhere closer to experiencing His love till we are shaken, broken and confronted. We become HIS best only through regular pruning, crushing and polishing process. Perhaps, we are going through this polishing phase today.
As the word clearly mentioned, “Be still and know that I am God” here, ‘Be Still’ means Listen! Listening and obeying Him is the only key to consistent walk with Him. Our restlessness and anxiety over situations and events refrains us from listening to Him, that’s when we complain, get angry, and depressed. I have failed Him many a times but it is His Grace that finds me always back to His love.
Are you going through a summer tempest in your life today? Hard to pray and sing? Often in disbelief that God does this to you and your family?
I can feel with you…I was there and I’m still there…. But one thing works well for me and I’ve learnt my lesson….Just Listen and Obey. Maybe that’s all it takes. Remember! His Grace is always sufficient for us.
I keep singing this song over and over again, when I’m down….
“I walk by faith and not by sight
If things go wrong it’ll be alright
Cos, someone greater is watching over me
My God cares too much to say
His mercies are new everyday
I get down to pray
And then HELP is on its way!!!!”